Days out, Family, london, Uncategorized

A day trip to London (with kids)

Has your child been pestering to visit London since covering ‘The Great Fire of London’ topic at school? My eight year old daughter had asked for a good year, on and off, to visit London, and finally I took it upon myself to take her there for the day.

It started badly. I had booked for us to travel by coach, and when we were ready to depart at 7.45 am, the coach door decided it didn’t want to close. An hour later (after an engineer had fixed the door) we were on our way.

The rest of the trip was truly brilliant. My daughter absolutely loved every moment. We visited the ‘Natural History Museum’, followed by the ‘Science Museum’, cherry picking the bits we wanted to see in each Museum. They are literally five minutes walk from one another, so it was easy to spend half of the day in one before heading to the other.

The dinosaur exhibit, and the Mammal display, was incredible, and I was definitely more excited then my daughter as we walked around (I couldn’t believe how big the blue whale actually was!). After coffee in the on-site café (good cappuccino’s), we headed to the ‘Science Museum’.

Any parent heading to the Science Museum with young children must take note of the fact there is a really good play area in the basement of the Museum. We didn’t find this until the end of the trip, but it was by far the best part for my eight year old daughter. They have water play and sensory toys to keep little people amused, and it was generally far more interactive then a lot of the other displays available. Although the museum was a great day out, we definitely preferred the History Museum, as it was far more interactive, and had more interesting displays, in comparison to the Science Museum. However, I would still recommend both to families looking to visit London.

After a busy day we headed back to our coach, picking up a few pasties on the way as an added bonus! Despite the fact our coach was delayed for two hours coming home, we still had big smiles on our faces when we arrived home. I loved every minute I had there with my daughter, and I will definitely return at a later date to see the parts of the museums that we missed!

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Family, Health, Parenting, Uncategorized

New to Breastfeeding?

If you are new to breastfeeding read on. I wanted to provide a few tips, having breastfed both of my children up until the age of 18 months.

  1. I never bothered buying expensive ‘maternity’ clothes. Buying low cut dresses and shirts with buttons is a far more cost effective way of feeding your baby. As well as this it provides far more choice for your wardrobe! Otherwise you can fall into the trap of wearing clothes that just make you look like plain old ‘mum’. Avoid this – you are a yummy mummy, so dress like one!!
  2. After being pregnant, giving birth, and then nursing your baby, it can sometimes feel that your body is no longer your own, and a bit mechanical! Its hard not to look in the mirror and feel disconnected with the person staring back at you, especially if you add a few sleepless nights into the mix. Make sure you make time for yourself, and either express some milk, or make an hour or two for yourself in between feeds.I would make the mistake of not doing anything because I was worried about the need to feed! It’s important to have a bit of time for yourself if you can, even if it just allows you to walk to the shop and get some air.
  3. Invest in a scarf and/or poncho. I found these really useful when feeding out in public!
  4. Don’t feel embarrassed about nursing your baby in public, and don’t let friends or family impact on your decision to feed out in public either. You’re doing the most natural thing in the world, and during my time feeding in public, I did not once have a complaint. I think most of the population is behind those breastfeeding mum’s. And to be honest, the one’s that aren’t are the one’s with the problem!!!
  5. Instead of spending out a lot of money for hideous looking bras, I bought the wireless ones from Primark for £2.50! They were just as comfortable, and I didn’t have any issues wearing them. I still inserted breastfeeding pads inside, and can thankfully say I had no leakages! Better still they looked better then the maternity bras.
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Days out, Family, Parenting, Uncategorized, Wimborne

Dorset Top 5 Easter Holiday activities on a budget

I thought I would do a quick write up on Dorset attractions to consider for the half term. If you’re like me, it’s good to have a few ideas to call upon when at a loose end! Here are my top 5 ideas of places to go on a budget:

  1. Hengistbury Head – You can park up on one of the free roads towards Southbourne sea front and walk along the beach. This location is a great place to fly a kite or search for shells and stones on the beach. Bring a bucket and the children will be entertained for hours (you might even get to enjoy a book to yourself!). If you want to spend a bit of change, head towards the @Hungry Hiker café for an ice cream, or catch the train that takes you up to the top end of Hengistbury head spit. It’s £1.80 one way for an adult, and £0.60 for a child.More information: http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/Parks/ThingstoDo/Hengistbury-Head-Land-Train.aspx
  2. A day out to Lymington can also be enjoyable with children, we had the pleasure of going yesterday in fact. If you park near to the Harbour you can walk to the park that sits next to the estuary. It’s great fun for those that like boats (my little lad loved it!). Bring a picnic and sit in the park, or head into the shopping area where you can buy some delicious pasties from @thepastyshop there. We end up taking a walk around the Lymington-Keyhaven nature reserve, starting at the car park next to the Mayflower Inn. In the summer you can also bring your costumes and enjoy the seawater swimming pool on the seafront. Here is a map link for those of you who haven’t been before: http://www.lymington.org/naturereserve.html.
  3. Visit Stewarts garden centre at Holt, Wimborne. They have a play park hidden away around the side of the garden centre which is lovely for younger children. They even have a few animals there such as ducks and pigs, and it’s completely free to go in. We tend to bring a picnic, or grab a light bite to eat in the café inside the garden centre.
  4. Park for free at Pottern Park on the outskirts of Verwood, and take a 25 minute walk into Moors Valley. The walk itself is beautiful, taking you past the lake and river on the way in. There are a few benches too, so occasionally we’ll have a picnic before arriving at Moors Valley. Fabulously FREE!!!
  5. So many options, and I’m starting to think I should have done a top ten list, but my final suggestion is going to be Upton House in Poole. The grounds are great to walk around here, and they have a coffee shop and toilet facilities. During the warmer months they have a splash area in the walled garden so the little ones can cool off whilst the parents can get the picnic blankets out. We tend to feed the ducks, and take a walk along the pathway on the edge of the harbour. The play area is small, but kept natural with trees to climb through etc.IMG_0449
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    The play area at Stewart’s Garden Centre – Holt
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Family, Health, Parenting, Uncategorized

‘So what’s your job?’ – The question full time mothers dread

 

Recently I was at the checkout in my local supermarket with my eighteen month old son, when the women behind the counter asked whether it was my ‘day off’. Writing this now I think to myself ‘bloody cheek!’, but at the time I admit to replying with a ‘yes’?!! To question whether she thought spending the day with my eighteen month old (baby as far as I’m concerned) was deemed as unacceptable, or not ‘work’ enough didn’t feel comfortable at the time. Instead I actually felt wrong for saying that I was a full time Mum.

It happens frequently. When speaking to people I don’t know, friends of friends for example, the question ‘What do you do for a living?‘ is soon asked. To reply ‘I’m a Mum’ always seems to be a conversation killer (unless on meeting another Mum, in which case your on safe grounds!).

I realise that some of the feeling comes from myself. Its true that I still feel the urge to achieve some form of career, and feel that my degree and Masters in Psychology has currently amounted to absolutely nothing (except enjoyable memories of learning for fun… and proving to myself that I have a brain cell or two). But I know having spoken to others that many are in the same boat, feeling that being a full time mum isn’t deemed as enough.

As my eight year old daughter would say ‘But why?’. Why do people deem motherhood (or fatherhood) as a day off? Some I can understand are naive to what being a parent involves – but some parents seem to frown upon it too.

Now I don’t have the answers (clearly) as to why people deem full time parenthood as an unworthy ‘job’ title, but I would like to take the opportunity to say that being a full time parent is OK. In fact its more then OK. Its the most acceptable, natural, instinctive ‘job’ that one can have. It’s also hard work, and not a ‘day off ‘by any means. We can go for hours without adult conversation, have to remain patient at all times (even when you really do feel like you’re about to blow), can’t go to the toilet without being watched, have to somehow manage to tidy up and do other boring chores at the same time, and are probably doing most of this having had not much sleep, or having been up since 5.30 am at best.

For those of you who wonder why we don’t just do what we can to avoid this, I would like to also point out that it really is the most rewarding job anyone will ever do. Bit cliché I know – but it’s also a very fortunate position to be in, to be able to mould your little person into what they become, to watch them change each day and learn something new, to share your time with someone who absolutely cherishes your company, and to know that the energy you put in now will take that little person through their childhood, and make them into a big person that hopefully (if all has gone well) flourishes, and reaches their own dreams and aspirations because of what you put in from day one.

Basically – full time Mum’s be proud, don’t do what I did and be made to feel that being a mum isn’t worthy of being classed as a job, hold your head high knowing that you have one of the most challenging and important jobs in the world.

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Family, Health, Relationships

From Venus and Mars to Ying and Yang?

Now this isn’t entirely meant to be used as a way to vent my relationship frustrations, but if it comes across that way please bare with me!

At the start of my relationship with my partner, it was obvious we were very different, but I liked to think of it as opposites attract, or as some would say, Ying and Yang. Overall I feel like this is probably still the case, but its taken a lot of fall outs and make up ‘discussions’ to try and figure out a way around our differences. For anyone in the same situation (basically for any women feeling stuck on Venus, and for any man feeling stuck on Mars) read on.

My partner is a very black and white logical individual, and I am what I would describe as colourful! I like talking, he does not. I like Art, he likes computer programming. I like to keep the house tidy, he doesn’t see the mess even if its causing him to jump over items in order to get to the kitchen! Trivial I know, but these little things add up. The main issues however are the differences we have towards work and family life, and putting effort into one another. I like to cuddle up together in an evening and spend quality time together as a family at the weekend. My partner on the other hand is not one for affection, deems the word ‘love’ as fluffy and unnecessary to say aloud, and would prefer spending most of the weekend ‘getting his Geek on’ (if he could get away with it!). Neither way is wrong of course, but the two opinions literally spell disaster!

Recently our differences landed us in relationship counselling, and I have to admit even this did not seem to allow us to find a solution! So what did we decide to do? Well, on the verge of breakup we came up with a plan to accommodate our differences. We both love one another, and we have a child together, so making our relationship work is important to both of us. When things are going well between us we have such a laugh together and enjoy one another’s company – so why on earth would we not be able to overcome our differences?!

On a Saturday afternoon we made a plan. It was structured and simple, outlining who would take responsibility for the childcare on certain days, and when we would fit family time as well as ‘me time’ in. At first I was unsure, but a week or so in I can see it definitely has its benefits. Between us we get to take it in turns to lay in, have time to ourselves (yes, I actually get to go for a run now, come home, and then have a bath!!), and have time together. The time together is less often, but of better quality. Due to my partner stating that he did not appreciate the dinners I made for him, or the laundry I washed for him, we also decided that I would no longer do this. Those that are on childcare duty must also leave the house in the same condition as they found it. And when on our own time we can choose to spend that time however we like for as long as we like (as long as it is within your dedicated time slot for ‘me time’).

It sounds simple doesn’t it, and it is, but I can assure you this has so far worked better then anything we have learnt in counselling. I feel that because it allows both of us to have breathing space, it means that we don’t feel suffocated by one another or family commitments. The children seem to prefer it too, as quite often they get more one to one time with either parent. So if you are feeling strained by your relationship and family commitments, give this idea a go. Sit down together and mutually agree a weekly rota that allows both of you to have time to yourself.

 

 

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Family, Health, Relationships

Relationships and Resolutions

IMG_0262“And how about you Nyomi? Where do you see yourself heading?”. I’m sat in a small room on the third floor of a particularly cold building, attending my fifth session of relationship therapy. At Thirty years of age, I had never expected to be asked this question, especially not by a relationship counsellor. Believe it or not this is my efforts for a better me, the me I once knew and lost somewhere between leaving college and having my eight year old daughter. “Well I’ve started a Saturday job at an estate agents so that I can get out and do something without the worry of childcare” I reply, to which the counsellor looks slightly disappointed by my answer, as do I, knowing that my efforts at University studying Psychology and gaining a First class honours and a distinction in my Masters was not intended to be used for an estate agent job. Don’t get me wrong, the job itself is quite good fun, I get to talk to people which I love doing, and I get to look around lovely houses that make me envious, which, believe it or not is also relatively interesting. Its not where I intended to be granted, but its a step towards my attempts to regain my place in this world beyond motherhood. It fits with my eighteen month old son, and right now that’s really all I can do unless I put him into full time childcare, which I’m currently not prepared to do (unless I’m having a bad day!).

When you’re in your late teens and early twenties you feel as if you have the world at your feet, invincible, as if you can go anywhere, do anything and achieve whatever you want to achieve, with whoever you want. That feeling of freedom and capability is so wonderful and something to cherish and develop in that moment. I look back and regret not embracing that person that I was, and now spend my time in search of her again. I know she’s inside – I just need to create the right conditions for her to appear. And the first step in doing this is to get my relationship up and running, hence the counselling.

It’s not that my relationship is terrible – when things are going smoothly everything is great. I’m happy pottering along, he’s happy focusing on work… But, as soon as there is a blip, a hiccup, and a slight difference of opinion, the world seems to come crashing down around us.

Looking at the bigger picture however it becomes apparent that the issues deemed to be within the relationship are in actual fact partly due to other factors in our lives, such as work, children, and unfulfilled dreams. With this in mind it suddenly dawned on me (I think it was around session three of counselling) that in order to get my relationship on track there is another list of things that I need to start doing in my life to fulfil a gap within. My career (or lack of one), travel and experiences, doing something that is somehow beneficial to others or for the greater good, are all things that have been on my wish list for far to long – and now is as good a time as ever to start doing something about it.

So it was recently new year, 2016 appeared out of nowhere, and at this point I began to think about me, myself and I. Firstly I decided I wanted to start running. I had run 10 K the previous April and really enjoyed it to my surprise. So many people kept telling me how much they enjoyed running, and I really couldn’t understand the appeal until I started. At first I hated it! But after a few weeks of pursuing with it, I could see why people did it. For me it was about getting out of the house and letting off a bit of steam at the end of a day. Listening to music that I enjoyed via my iphone, I quickly learnt that it was a way for me to have some head space and ‘me’ time. However when the cold came in and the evenings became dark and wet, I lost interest – and now I want to get it back.

My second thought was about making more time for friends and socialising. Too many of the issues I was having in my relationship was due to lack of conversation. My partner, having been at work making ‘unnecessary chat’ all day, wanted to come home and switch off. This meant that he didn’t want to start conversations with me. Now this really bothered me, because as far as I was concerned I had been at home a large part of the day with children. Of course I would see other mums at playgroups and in the school playground from time to time, but its not quite the same as having a conversation with your partner at the end of a long day. Personally I love nothing more then to have a chat about one another’s day, no matter how mundane it might be.

We met half way and attempted some conversation, but I started to arrange more goings out with good friends who enjoyed my company. I don’t know why I hadn’t done this sooner to be honest, I was soon reminded of the importance of good friends who I could speak feely to, and who I enjoyed listening to, and importantly, laughing with! Cinema trips and dinners out from time to time really helped my confidence and happiness grow. The best thing I arranged was a catch up with a close friend I hadn’t seen in almost six years ( I know, I don’t know how I allowed that to happen, although its easily done when you both have busy lives I guess). My first weekend away in two years. We met up in London, drank coffee, ate food, and talked non stop for two whole days! It was fantastic, and I reminded myself of how important it is to make time like that for myself now and again. Yes I missed the children, and I was really anxious about leaving my 18 month old overnight, but he survived, and he got to spend some quality time with his dad which both of them appeared to appreciate. I urge any other mother to do the same if the opportunity comes up – it really is important to have time for yourself, even if its just a few hours.

Earlier I mentioned how difficult it is to have a career around children, or, in my case, to find a career. That is partly why I decided to write, and hence why I am writing this blog for all of those who are in the same situation as myself or who just want to listen. Its actually my birthday this week, and I would absolutely love more then anything in the world to have a digital camera. As a sixteen something year old I dreamt of being a photographer, not of normal things like weddings or portraits, but of tornadoes and volcanoes! I no longer want to put my life on the line to get an incredible tornado photograph, but I would enjoy going out and getting trigger happy with a decent camera. Who knows, I might even get good and make a career doing something I enjoy, or I might just make writing and photography a hobby for myself. Either way it makes a nice change to have good options whatever happens.

The final biggy on my list of things to do is to get out there in the world and help others in some way. You know that feeling you get when someone is really grateful because you held the door open for them, or waited patiently whilst allowing someone to cross in front of you before driving? Well I would like to get that feeling more often. In a previous life I used to work with families with the Children’s Centres, and this used to provide me with incredible moments of feeling I was doing some good in the world. Although I feel that role had its time, I have now got the ball rolling with helping the homeless through a charity called ‘Hope for food’ in Bournemouth. This was triggered by the huge appreciation a homeless lady showed recently when I bought her a simple cup of coffee.

Since making these positive steps recently I have started to feel the return of the previous self slowly making her way out of the shadows, and I urge anyone else out there who is having the same feelings of emptiness to do the things that you once enjoyed, or the things that you never got around to doing. I absolutely promise you that it will make a big difference to you and those around you.

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